Wal-Mart acquisition to bring new tech to stores

Wal-Mart on Tuesday took another step forward in ramping up its digital profile.

The discounter announced that it has acquired Stylr, a mobile app that allows shoppers to locate clothes in nearby stores. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Gibu Thomas, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of mobile and digital, wrote in a blog post that more than half of its shoppers who use smartphones have powered up their devices while shopping in-store.

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"We are excited about the opportunity to serve these customers with indispensable digital tools that bring the convenience of online shopping into our physical stores and integrate our online and offline experiences to enable our customers to shop anytime, anywhere," Thomas wrote in the post.

Wal-Mart's plans for change
Wal-Mart's plans for change

The acquisition fits with Wal-Mart's three-pronged growth strategy, which it highlighted at its annual shareholders meeting earlier this month. In addition to being "customer-centric" and investing in its employees, the retailer said it needs to be "at the forefront of innovation and technology."

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Stylr was the 13th acquisition in the past three years for Wal-Mart's @WalmartLabs division, which is focused on integrating the company's online and in-store shopping experiences.

Wal-Mart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said the Stylr app will soon be removed from the App Store. The technology powering the app will not be directly woven into Wal-Mart's apps, but the retailer plans to gain insights from the app to use on future mobile innovations.

In the most recent quarter, Wal-Mart's global e-commerce sales rose 27 percent. Other recent initiatives by the retailer's digital team include a receipt comparison tool, which gives shoppers a gift card for the price difference if a competitor offers the same products at a lower price.

According to Forrester Research, U.S. mobile phone and tablet shopping will bring in $114 billion in 2014. A separate study by Deloitte earlier this year found that by the end of 2014, $1.5 trillion, or 50 percent, of all in-store sales will be influenced by digital devices.

—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson